I am currently working on the supertitles for Union Avenue Opera’s 20th anniversary season. For those unfamiliar, supertitles are the live version of subtitles. The opera’s words/English translations are projected above or next to the stage so the audience can more specifically understand what’s going on during the performance. Creating PowerPoint presentations of these lengthy libretti (the words of an opera) can be tedious, but sometimes I get to do Google searches to inform my titles. Today’s search started because Blanche and Mitch are quoting something in the 3rd scene of Act I of A Streetcar Named Desire by André Previn. “And, if God choose, I shall but love you better after Death.” Sounds familiar, but what is it?
And for a moment, I am transported back to English class and am looking at a poem I’ve heard a million times. Today, however, I’m reading it at my own pace and because I want to read it. Sometimes we all need a poetry break.
I sang a wedding last weekend. While we were waiting for the ceremony to begin, the trumpet player confessed to me that the Little Drummer Boy always makes her teary…especially the bit about having nothing to offer, but here you go, little baby, take my drum.
I then made my own confession: I cry when the bride comes down the aisle. The bride and groom might be complete strangers, and I might not ever see them again, but still: little puddles of salt water in my eyes. I used to sing Kurt Weill’s Saga of Jenny in my head when that unmistakable, sneaky burn of pre-tears kicked in. It’s a good, upbeat number with funny lyrics, and it immediately takes me to a happy place in my head. The problem is, I start thinking about dancing too, and I don’t trust myself. I might accidentally get up and let the spirit move me, which would be decidedly bad.
But my sensitive trumpet player had brilliant advice: Think About Santa Claus. You know, fat, jolly man with whiskers and a happy Ho Ho Ho.
It worked. Bride in sight. Burny tear feeling. Fat, jolly man with whiskers. Little smile. Flood averted.
And Santa, in case you need to keep from laughing sometime, try thinking about a bride walking down the aisle. It helps if you throw the sounds of a trumpet and some strings in the background.